To promote efficient use of time for institutions undergoing the comprehensive review process, NAST provides recommendations for designing the self-study process.
NAST works to help theatre programs focus self-study on major analytical issues that will advance their work on behalf of students and the field. It is recommended that each institution organize document logistics and the writing process by assignment of coordinators, working committees, and information gatherers. For effective use of time available to accomplish this objective, NAST recommends, but does not require, the following.
1. Create and maintain a current Management Documents Portfolio.
NAST recommends approximately 50 management-related items that most institutions already have and probably use often. For example, your annual HEADS report is part of the Management Documents Portfolio.
If kept current, when it is time to produce the NAST Self-Study document, the Management Documents Portfolio is simply inserted into any of the three NAST Self-Study formats (A, B, or C) as Section IV. If information is not yet compiled and in hand, complete Section IV of the format chosen. The time saved on data gathering can be enormous.
2. Create or maintain a current Instructional Programs Portfolio.
If you have completed an NAST review since 1998, you already have the basics for an Instructional Programs Portfolio in your Self-Study document. The 2008 Instructional Programs Portfolio is a simple version to read and use to maintain a portfolio.
NAST recommends that you keep the curricula documentation in the Instructional Programs Portfolio current, for example, by adding new Plan Approved programs, etc. The portfolio can be used for many management and accountability purposes beyond NAST.
If kept current, when it is time to produce the NAST Self-Study document, the Instructional Programs Portfolio can simply be inserted in Format A or Format B as Section II, or in Format C as Section I. If information is not yet compiled and in hand, complete Section II of Format A or Format B, or Section I of Format C. The time saved on curricular data compilation can be enormous and used to consider effectiveness and areas of improvement.
3. Use other institutional documents that provide requested information.
Do not restate information if it is already available. Instead, include the information in the Self-Study and provide its reference. NAST has few requirements regarding format. However, visitors and Commission members will be able to find information if it is clearly marked and referenced. Please follow self-study directions regarding tables of contents and indexes.
4. Center your self-study around questions that lead to analytical responses such as, “How well are we doing?” and “How can we improve?”
Your management, statistical, and instructional programs information and data provide a reference and springboard for your analytical efforts. You can and should evaluate and plan your future rather than simply gather information.